Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane “pill-flipping” life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.

How to Feel like You Got a Raise (Even Though You Didn't)

JUNE 15, 2017

You received some bad news at work. You found out that your company won’t be giving raises to anyone this year. While it's possible to negotiate your way to better benefits and even a salary, you may not want to go through the experience with your manager.

Although you are aware that this is a reality for many people in this economy, you never thought that you would join the no-raise ranks.
 

Now, after making elaborate plans in your head about what you might do with your extra raise money, you’re left wondering how you are going to afford to boost your retirement contributions, take a vacation, or save for your kids’ college education.
 

This certainly is a disappointing situation. However, there are some things you can do to make it feel like you got a raise—even though you didn’t.
 

Lifestyle Modifications

If you are earning a 6-figure pharmacist’s salary, it can be easy for your lifestyle to become more lavish and expensive than it needs to be.


Now, most pharmacists don’t get themselves into financial trouble because they go out and buy a $200,000 Bentley. For most pharmacists, these little extravagances creep up on them slowly and are a by-product of a busy lifestyle.
 

Because when we get busy, we look for help and “hacks” to make life easier. These things often cost money.
 

I’m talking about the gym membership that you pay for, but never use. Or the daily coffee runs. Or the house cleaning or yard work service that you pay for because you don’t have time on the weekends to complete those chores.
 

By taking a hard look at your lifestyle, you can probably find at least a couple unnecessary expenses that you can trim. You’ll probably find that cutting back or stopping a few small things will yield enough savings to put some extra money in the bank.
 

Living Like a Resident

My wife and I paid off our house 27 years early. How did we do it? A big part of our strategy was adopting a minimalist lifestyle and living the way we did when I was a resident (even though I am a full-time pharmacist with several profitable side-hustle businesses). Here are some resident-style living strategies that will put some extra money in your pocket right now:

1.   Do a budget.

It’s extremely important for you to know how much you are spending on things each month so you can keep track of your expenditures and hopefully, keep them low.

Whether you are single, married or in a relationship, a monthly budget can help you achieve this goal. One of the best ways to track your expenses without having to create a giant, ugly spreadsheet, is to use my favorite money management tool, Personal Capital. Personal Capital is a free tool that connects you to all of your financial accounts and tracks expenditures that you make. You will be surprised at how much money you will “find” each month just by doing a budget and sticking to it.

2.   Dump debt.

Take a moment to add up all the payments you make toward student loans, credit cards, personal loans, car loans and your mortgage each month. Now, imagine for a second that all that money stays in your bank account instead of being paid to creditors.

That’s a chunk of change that you can put toward other things! Even if you can pay off a small debt—say, a pesky outstanding medical bill with a $100 monthly payment—you will now have $100 extra each month that you can use to improve your financial situation. After you get rid of all your debt, making a commitment to a debt-free lifestyle will help you to achieve your financial goals more easily.

3.   Nix subscriptions.

Ditch any subscription services that you aren’t using. If you don’t watch Netflix, Hulu or read all those National Geographic magazines gathering dust on your shelves, cancel and bank the extra money. Or, consider converting subscription services to a family plan so that the cost of these services is cut in half.

4.   Ditch pricey cell phone plans.

Talk to your cell phone provider about ways to save money on your phone service and find out if you are paying for services that you aren’t using. For example, if you are using waaaaay less data than you are paying for, you might be able to save a few bucks by downgrading your plan.

5.   Cut grocery bills.

It is really easy to spend $200 per week or more on groceries when you head to the supermarket with no plan. Most people assume that you have to take up extreme couponing or spend hours scouring sales circulars to save on groceries, but that isn’t the case. Planning your weekly meals and buying only the things you will actually use is a great way to eliminate waste and save money—no extreme couponing involved.

6.   Delay gratification.

To be successful with money and feel like you got a raise, it is essential for you to learn to delay gratification and avoid making impulse purchases. This might sound simple, but it definitely isn’t easy. By simply shopping around, waiting for a sale or taking the time to save for what you want and need, you can score major bargains—especially on major purchases.
 

Boosting Your Bottom Line

Sometimes, budget cuts just aren’t enough to make you feel like you have extra income to play with—especially if you already have a pretty lean lifestyle. If this is the case, you might consider making some extra cash by starting a side hustle.  

Looking beyond your job and creating an extra revenue stream through real estate, consulting or another side business can provide you with extra income to save for the things you want in life. By hustling outside of your job to achieve a financial goal, you create a drive and energy that will keep you motivated. I’ve always found that whenever I didn’t have a hustle—something on the side that I was working on—I found myself getting lazy at home and at work.

 

For some ideas about how to get your side hustle started, check out my article, 53 Side Hustles Any Pharmacist Can Start Today.


By following these tips and strategies, you can feel like you got a raise and put yourself on a path to happiness and fulfillment. If you want to create your ideal life and connect with like-minded pharmacists, visit my website thehappypharmd.com and check out our community.

 




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